Ever wondered what the plateau project is all about? Well, wonder no further as Viewpointnigeria’s Dakwom Longgul goes about exploring the area in question through a series of interviews titled “The Plateau Project”.
The interviews will be a series of 30 minutes dialogues with erudite Plateau sons and daughters, exploring the question of what “the Plateau Project” means, how it shapes the Plateau psyche and its implications in today’s society.
The first of these series is an interview with Dr Nentawe Yilwatdda, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of Benue state. Other sessions are planned with other Plateau sons including Dr Chinnan Maclean Dikwal, Nde Gideon Barde, Dr.Daniel meshak , Prof. Patrick Dakum etc. The interview will be available on ViewPointNigeria’s website –www.viewpointnigeria.org, as well as on the Youtube channel – ViewPointNigeriaTV.
Excerpt with Dr.Nentawe below :
ViewPointNigeria: Who is Dr Nentawe Yilwatda?
Dr. Nentawe’s response: Nentawe is Ngas by tribe, a humble son of Plateau! I read electrical and electronics engineering at the University of Agriculture Makurdi, and then did a PhD in digital system engineering (at the University of Nigeria, Nnsuka. I am currently the INEC REC of Benue State, having been a university lecturer for numerous years.
ViewPointNigeria: As a son of Plateau, what is your understanding of what is meant by the Plateau Project?
Dr. Nentawe: The plateau project is a dream of our founding fathers, of a great plateau attending the zenith of its greatness, I’m sure it’s a collective project that everybody on the plateau must work towards attainment. The project is to make sure that the interest of plateau state is protected despite the forces fighting the interest that will get us attain that greatness, so all the ethnic nationalities will have equal opportunities of attaining greatness, to reach a point where the common man on the plateau can work and achieve his dream without any hindrance.
ViewPointNigeria: So far what can we say is our Bane?
Just like what is obtainable with every other dream, it comes with opposition, and factors that can slow such a vision down. First, we have some value deficit and institutional deficit that we are required to build on, and to capitalize on before attaining that greatness; let me state the facts again, you don’t attain greatness without value system and institutions, so far, what are the value system that we have created as a state? What are the institutional buildup that have put in place as a people? This are the key critical issues that we have to put up as a people, because on these blogs our greatness is assured.
Taking about greatness and institutions, let me refer you the speech of Governor Simon Bako Lalong of 29th may, 2019. Where the governor admonishes the citizenry to think and act plateau is that part of the dream?
Off cause, when you talk about given opportunity for everybody on the Plateau, it doesn’t just mean governance alone, it carries the citizens along. For me personally, the concept of think “plateau and act plateau “ means the interest of a general plateau supersede anything. Again, the collective interest of plateau should be above, personal, regional, ethnic, tribal or association interest, it goes a long way to suppress any other interest that we have as individual or collective group. Hence, thinking plateau here, is looking at those key things that will make plateau great? What are the opportunities? What are the fruits that we have here? What are the human capacities that we need to build? Because, the average plateau man is intelligent, anywhere you see any form of greatness starts from plateau state, I give a number of instances:
Football, all the best footballers in Nigeria are affiliated with plateau
Nigerian entertainment industry, all the best are affiliated with plateau
Even the prime minister of UK, some of them were born here, John Major, a former prime minister of UK was born and grew up in plateau state. Plateau is almost synonymous to greatness, so it’s left for us who are citizens to work to our God given greatness and achieve that which we seek to be great.
ViewPointNigeria: Quoting you, you said “many great things are from plateau”, is that a categorical statement Dr.?
Yes, very categorical, have you ever checked the scene of plateau state, plateau before independence was melting point for all, you could get every tribe here on the plateau, every person in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, wanted to own a house on the plateau, are we talking about former head of states ! Shagari spends his holiday on the plateau in fact, people take leave to spend holidays here, and it tells you that there is something unique about plateau state that we are unable to capitalize on, the first thing is to look at the reasons why a former head of state will like to be in plateau state. I recall the president of Togo visited Nigeria , and he was here on the plateau as a primary School pupils he waved us, we shook hands with him, you see I had an opportunity to shuck hands with the former president, this are the kind of opportunity that can motivate and many only dream about…
So plateau has potential for greatness if we nurture the dreams of our founding fathers. Somebody created the environment for those people I mentioned earlier to come, lets look at the factors that account for the highest number of white men to be domicile on the plateau? What makes it different today? Hill crest was the best secondary school in Nigeria, ambassadors sent their kids to plateau for school, plateau was the anchor of the best education in this country, I recall our days back in Gindiri, I have classmates all over the country, so what happen to education tourism? Again we can look at the natural tourism of that time, most training of the military was also here. What makes it different today?
ViewPointNigeria: Let me ask you a direct question, given your wealth of administrative experience etc., will you be throwing you hat in the ring for political office in the near future?
Dr. Nentawe: (After a long laugh) Not for now…
Watch for following series, where Longgul Dakwom will sit with other Plateau stalwarts to explore the same topic.
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Moments in pictures with Nentawe Yilwatdda.
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